NORTHBROOK, Illinois, March 18, 2021 – For the first time in the company’s history, the KemperSports Leadership Conference took place virtually, bringing together more than 500 company leaders from across the country for two days of learning, setting the vision for 2021, and celebrating company culture and achievements. This year’s conference was headlined by Shawn Achor, an American author and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology.
KemperSports experienced many highlights in 2020 – driving strong growth in rounds played and in private club memberships, while also achieving the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS) in the company’s history. In his remarks to the team, KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner focused on family values and the importance of leaning on a strong culture. “When times are tough, like those that we experienced in 2020, we need to stay connected to our core values. They always carry the day,” Skinner said. “We are an unusual, if not a unique, company in the golf business. Our goal is never to be the biggest, but rather the best. We strive to be the best operator in each market and every segment of our business. Hiring and developing the best talent in the industry is key to our success and to providing the best customer experience.”
In 2021, KemperSports will continue to build strong relationships with its new and existing golfers, clients, and the community. “We look forward to a great year with a deep focus on service and loyalty at the heart of everything we do,” said Skinner. “The expectations of the experience have evolved and it’s time to double-down on these core company values.” KemperSports’ strong position as an independently-owned company within the golf and hospitality landscape will help drive innovative partnerships; new investments in technology, talent and training; and expansion of the portfolio of golf properties, with an increased focus on integrated resort destinations. Recently, the company assumed management of all hotel and food and beverage operations for Streamsong Resort, adding to the impressive collection of golf resorts the company manages across the country.
The conference also highlighted the organization’s dedication to corporate social responsibility, which expanded to address the challenges of 2020. From its innovative Rain Suits for Responders program – which transformed new and gently used golf rain suits into PPE for medical professionals and first responders – to countless fundraising and donation drives to support unique community needs, the KemperSports team stepped up to give back. During the conference, Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney, CEO and founder of Folds of Honor – an organization that provides scholarships to the families of fallen and wounded military service members – addressed the KemperSports team, “Salute to the heroic work that everybody at KemperSports has done on behalf of Folds of Honor for the last two years. Almost $500,000 raised… we are blessed and honored to serve alongside all the courses at KemperSports and the patriotic team there, we could not do it without you.”
During his keynote session, Shawn Achor unpacked scientific findings that demonstrate the connection between bringing personal gratitude and optimism to the job every day and the service experience; with the ultimate goal of strengthening guest loyalty. Achor gave the team daily habits and activities to help achieve a more positive outlook, stating, “Positivity creates happiness and happiness is a team sport.”
At the event, KemperSports also recognized its top achievers from across the country. Honorees recognized at this year’s event include:
- Facility of the Year: Forest Creek Golf Club (Round Rock, Texas). From receiving an amazing 91 Net Promoter Score to exceeding financial goals to producing an overwhelming positive force within the community such as a toy drive benefitting more than 150 kids in the area, Forest Creek’s 2020 achievements spanned all aspects of the property. According to Skinner, “Forest Creek is the embodiment of our company spirit and truly showcases what it means to be a KemperSports-managed property.”
- James R. Seeley General Manager of the Year: Chris Parker – Rock Spring Golf Club (West Orange, New Jersey). Standing out in a crowded field, Parker excels at leadership – a quality that helped him rally his team, who were based in a COVID-19 hotspot, to outperform and deliver stellar results.
- Mady Lesnik Home Office Staffer of the Year: Megan Godfrey, director of marketing. Godfrey was recognized for her leadership in the company and industry, and the critical role she played in counseling the KemperSports leadership team and properties across the country as they navigated the pandemic and beyond.
- Emil Esposito Golf Professional of the Year: Andy Donaty – Swan Point Yacht & Country Club (Swan Point, Maryland). Passionate about the game of golf and player development initiatives, Andy created creative junior camps and a “Friday Night Social” series to encourage participation in the game.
- Retailer of the Year: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Bandon, Oregon). The team at Bandon Dunes grew retail sales by double-digits in 2020 through creative online promotions and products for guests, and enhanced product training for staff.
- Salesperson of the Year: Kevin Dudleston – The Village Club of Sands Point (Sands Point, New York). Dudleston was recognized for his outstanding sales performance, adding over 100 new memberships, marketing innovation and contributions to the company and local community during an extraordinary year.
- Superintendent of the Year: Dan Lloyd – The Country Club of St. Albans (St. Albans, Missouri). A recent addition to the property, Lloyd made a major impact on St. Albans producing outstanding course conditions while operating more efficiently and committing to best practices in conservation and environmental stewardship.
- Hospitality Professional of the Year: Sam Rozano – Skyway Golf Course (Jersey City, New Jersey). Despite a nine-week shutdown of the property’s food and beverage operations, Rozano led his team to beat their budget with reimagined operations and a strong focus on safety. The team also found time to give back, feeding local first responders and supporting food banks.
- James S. Kemper Staffer of the Year: Tammie Zarak – Sand Valley (Nekoosa, Wisconsin). Zarak was recognized for her calm, measured approach to leading the property’s COVID-19 response team, which ultimately enabled the course to open for the season – to high demand – and provide exemplary services to guests and staff.
- Safety National Facility of the Year: Bolingbrook Golf Club (Bolingbrook, Illinois). For the sixth consecutive year, Bolingbrook Golf Club took home this award, which recognizes efforts to ensure that overall property and workplace safety are front of mind for all staff members on a day-to-day basis, year-round.
- Safety National Most Improved: Nemadji Golf Course (Superior, Wisconsin). In 2020, the team at Nemadji was able to reduce its audit score by eight points and had an eight-stroke improvement in its overall safety score.
- Green to a Tee Facility of the Year: Thornberry Creek at Oneida (Oneida, Wisconsin). Going beyond the basics, the team at Thornberry Creek stood out in 2020 by reducing water usage by 30 percent, thanks to a mix of innovative strategies and a deep commitment to environmental stewardship.
“We are proud to recognize these high-performing staff members and properties, who truly went above and beyond during a challenging year,” said Skinner. “Our staffers are the core of our company, and in 2020 they played a critical role in creating a safe, welcoming environment for our guests to enjoy the game. We congratulate our award winners and recognize their outstanding achievements.”
Northbrook, Ill.-based KemperSports builds, owns, leases and manages golf courses, resorts, athletic clubs and lodging venues across the U.S. and Caribbean. The company manages an award-winning portfolio including nationally-ranked courses, private clubs, municipal courses and tournament venues such as Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, named the No. 1 Golf Resort in North America by Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine; Streamsong Resort; The Glen Club; Desert Willow Golf Resort; Chambers Bay, host of the 2015 U.S. Open. For more information about KemperSports, please visit https://www.kempersports.com/